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Islanders pay price for early power-play problems

Failure to capitalize on two advantages in first 10 minutes cost New York in Game 2 loss

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / Columnist

TAMPA -- What could have been a boost for the New York Islanders became a boost for the Tampa Bay Lightning instead.

Twice in the first period Saturday, the Lightning took a penalty, killed it and scored soon afterward. They took a 2-0 lead and went on to a 4-1 win in Game 2, tying the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round series 1-1. Game 3 is Tuesday at Barclays Center in New York (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"We started the game with power play after power play, and really they did a great job pressuring us all over the ice, kind of killed any surge of momentum that we had," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said.

Lightning forward Ondrej Palat took an offensive-zone interference penalty 3:12 into the game, a golden opportunity for the Islanders to take an early lead. But the Lightning had the best scoring chance on during New York's power play when defenseman Victor Hedman forced goaltender Thomas Greiss to make a save, and Tyler Johnson gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead at 6:03. 

Video: NYI@TBL, Gm2: Johnson beats Greiss with slick shot

Lightning forward Ryan Callahan went off for holding at 8:07, providing another golden opportunity for the Islanders, especially because Callahan is one of Tampa Bay's best penalty-killers. But the Islanders committed three giveaways and had zero shots on that power play; Jonathan Drouin then gave the Lightning a 2-0 lead at 11:55.

The Islanders did cash in on a power play after that, when forward Nikolay Kulemin deflected a point shot by defenseman Thomas Hickey past goaltender Ben Bishop at 15:15. But by then, they were already in a hole.

"I think our guys were really prepared for how they kill and how aggressive they're going to come," Capuano said. "But with that said, you have to be dialed in, and I don't know if we were a little lackadaisical to start the game there on our power play.

"But it definitely gave them some momentum. I mean, we didn't get much. Our guys were prepared for it, but again, you have to execute and you've got to be ready. I think we just tried to do a little too much and overhandled the puck on the first couple power plays."

The Islanders talked about keeping it simple.

"I think obviously we would just like to capitalize on the power plays, and they're coming hard, and we've got to execute better," captain John Tavares said. "Obviously when once you're able to move the puck and escape some of the pressure, we've got to get pucks to the net."

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